A person engages in gambling when he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, with the intent to win a prize. This definition excludes bona fide business transactions valid under the law of contracts, such as the purchase or sale at a future date of securities or commodities, or of contracts of indemnity or guaranty and life, health or accident insurance.
Gambling involves betting or staking money or other valuables on the outcome of an uncertain event, such as a game or a race. It includes all types of legalized and illegal games of chance, such as slot machines, roulette, baccarat, poker, and horse racing, as well as lotteries and organized football (soccer) pools.
In the United States, a person is considered to have a gambling problem if he or she has an obsession with the activity and experiences distress when engaging in it. Compulsive gambling is more common in men than women and symptoms may start as early as adolescence or as late as older adulthood.
If you or someone you know has a gambling disorder, there are ways to get help. Seek out a support network – talk to friends and family, call a Gamblers Anonymous hotline, or find a group for families affected by gambling addiction such as Gam-Anon. Research has also shown that exercise can help reduce the urge to gamble.